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Jim Dixon

Nocino (Green Walnut Liqueur) & Vin de Noix

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Happy 2006, time to get going again on the vin de noix.  I had the distinct pleasure this past weekend of taking Jim Dixon a bottle of the vin de noix I made with his walnuts, and hearing "oh my god" be the first words that crossed his lips.  Ok!  So as soon as his walnuts are ready again, in another week or two, I'll start all over.

I never did get any vanilla bean, or long pepper, or grains of paradise into last year's batch.  So now I'm wondering whether I should stick with my excellent recipe from last year, or branch out, as it were.  Who else is making some this year?

I was just thinking about hunting for this thread as I head the pleasure of tasting Wolfert's version last year and feeling as though I missed the boat. Since I am in the throws of brewing my own beer, making my own cheese, and stuffing my own sausage, why not get into some wine making? Time to start hunting for fresh walnuts.

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My stepson Aaron was the manager at clarklewis until last month (off to NYU law school), and he ws so enthusiastic about Abra's vin de noix we decided to hide the bottle (he's camped in our basement for another couple of weeks before he heads back east).

I'm keeping a close eye on the walnuts so I can make my own, too. I'm happy to ship to anybody else (up to a point, anyway). Let me know if you're interested.

Jim

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Woo!

Someone else posted to this thread!

It's that time of the year. Anyone else doing the walnut do?

Got a double batch going on with the nocino di flannestad minimalist recipe of 2 # of walnuts per bottle of vodka with the zest of 1/2 lemon.

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Woo!

Someone else posted to this thread!

It's that time of the year.  Anyone else doing the walnut do?

Got a double batch going on with the nocino di flannestad minimalist recipe of 2 # of walnuts per bottle of vodka with the zest of 1/2 lemon.

gallery_27569_3038_19491.jpg

Eje, thanks so much for posting the info on the Rumiano guys at Mt. Lassen Farms! I have 12 pounds going that are split into 2 large containers, each with something over 2 quarts of vodka, and one small experimental batch of 12 walnuts soaking in brandy. Each has some cinnamon, clove, allspice, star anise, and lemon zest.

It was nice dealing with Mt. Lassen Farms as the walnut tree across the street had a small crop this year. I'd have had to get right up to the top of the tree to get enough for this year's batch of nocino.

Interesting that the crop was late enough this year that they harvested right about the time they do in Italy. I think I was already a month into it by this time last year.

Thanks again for the pointer to Mt. Lassen Farms!

EDIT: Sorry I missed your post, cdh. I'd have taken you up on that!

Mike


Edited by MikeInSacto (log)

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I'm going to put up both my nocino and vin de noix today, hurray! I made awesome vin de noix last year, but this will be my first nocino. Does anyone else want to weigh in on the sunshine vs. cool dark discussion? I can only use 100 proof vodka, in case that makes any difference to the heat/extraction equation.

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Thanks to Jim D.'s beautiful walnuts, I now have a dozen bottles-worth of vin de noix started, plus my first attempt at nocino, and some limoncello that also needed attention this morning and gratuitously sneaked into the picture. If you haven't put up your vin de noix for the season, better hurry, while the walnuts are still small.

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In case you're wondering why I make so much, vin de noix makes an excellent holiday gift. People really love it, and aren't likely to be getting it from just everyone.

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:shock::shock::sad::sad: OH NO!!!!!!!!!!!! did I miss the window???? AM I TOO LATE??? :sad::sad::sad:

I'll jump the gun a soon as tomorrow, how do I get walnuts??? I hope I'm not too late...I can't believe I may have missed this again...BAH!!!!!! concentrating too hard on bbq....

Am I doomed?

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Abra, very good idea, the big mason jars. How many nuts did you put into each jar? Are you using the same recipe as you did last year? Can you give me a rundown on what went into each jar? Last year the one big batch was difficult to handle at certain stages. :rolleyes: Not sure if you missed the window, Luckylies, I picked up some nuts at the market a couple of weeks ago, I really thought I was too late too. There may well be a tree with green nuts somewhere waiting for you to claim them! :smile: Carolyn, did you get a batch put away this year?

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Emma, look upthread, there's some place people have ordered green walnuts online. Something like Lassen Orchard - I can't remember exactly. But you're definitely onthe verge of being too late. Jim Dixon might still have some - you could PM him.

Lucy, I did use the exact same recipe I did last year. I divided between 6 1/2 gallon jars:

30 walnuts

6 big walnut leaves

8 liters red wine (a cabernet-merlot blend)

1500 mls inexpensive French brandy

6 star anise

6 cloves

2 large Mexican cinnamon sticks

1 kilo sugar

It was so good last year that I couldn't bring myself to change a thing this time.

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Maple syrup just sounds so...Franglais! But ok, I'm going to add some to one bottle for comparison. Too bad the sugar's already in there.

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If you didn't know it was in there, you could not discern the maple syrup, but it added a beautiful complexity to the finish. There are many versions (some quite expensive) of vin de noix on sale in the specialty shops here. Last year I caved in and bought a top notch "haut gamme" bottle so I could see how well the home made version compared. I subjected my friends and family to blind taste tests and the home made version was clearly superior. When I tasted them side by side, knowing what was in mine, my guess was that the maple syrup made the difference.

This year my big experiment is vin de noix instead of a stronger liqueur, and to use instead of the star anise, a teaspoon of szchuan peppercorn in each jar. In my cooking experiences with it in the past, I discovered that long cooking with it adds a floral element to the dish. This time I'm counting on that, hoping that the long maceration gives a similar effect.

Oranges instead of lemons, cloves instead of cinnamon.

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I quadrupled my batch, and divided it into 6 1.5 Liter jars, following Abra's example. I think that the mason jars are really great because the vin de noix needs some air circulation to get that nice dark color. By not using the rubber gaskets, I allow just a little bit of air in, and in a few months time I can seal them off for as long as I want before I strain them and (this year) put the vin de noix into gift bottles.

Per 1.5 liter jar:

About 8 nuts each jar

500ml vodka

2/3 cup grade B maple syrup

1/3 vanilla bean

2 cloves

1 t. szchuan peppercorns

2 slices of an orange

top off with a full bodied white burgundy (Bourgogne) wine (used 5 bottles to fill all the jars to the top)

Speaking of gift bottles, has anyone used any pretty ones they can post in this thread to give ideas? Ideas for labels?

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I went to all the farmers markets in nyc today and no dice  :sad:

Don't worry, I missed the window two years ago and it made last year's result that more satisfying. There's always next year.

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Lucy, it's so interesting how different your recipe is from mine. Vodka instead of brandy, the use of citrus whereas mine has no fruit, and then the maple syrup. If I had some more walnuts I'd try a batch of it your way. Next year I will, for sure.

Also, I didn't allow any air circulation last year and mine ended up a very deep nut brown, like an Oloroso sherry. So you want it to be actually black?

Someone might want to label this thread, now that it's evidently been merged. I looked for it in vain in its former home.

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I'm starting WAY late, but having spied a box of green walnuts at this morning's Farmer's Market, I'm totally on board! I picked up a total of 54 walnuts and will be making two different batches; one with considerably more spice than the other. I'll be following a combination of Wolfert's and Lucy's recipe -- mostly wine with a touch of brandy, citrus, and spice. I'll post pictures when blended and going!

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Super Carolyn! Great to see you found some nuts!

Also, I didn't allow any air circulation last year and mine ended up a very deep nut brown, like an Oloroso sherry.  So you want it to be actually black?

Last year my batch was in a very wide bowl that I kept uncovering. It turned as black as tar. Also remember that I used very little wine last year so it was more of a liqueur. In reading the topic up to this point, my thought was that the exposure to some air (but still covered most of the time to keep dust and insects out) made a difference in the color turning very dark. I'm also pretty sure I used black walnuts. I think that the alcohol content had something to do with how dark it gets as well. I still used lots of vodka this year, it will pack a punch. The idea is to make it significantly more alcoholic than wine and for it to taste light and warm and nutty. Hopefully this year, having put about 3/4 bottle of wine into each jar, at least the light will penetrate through and it will also be a pretty drink.

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Today I filtered my vin de noix and set it to rest until it does its magic. Just like last year, the stuff is absolutely vile at this point, so bitter as to be spit-outtable. How in the world does it transform itself into elixir, with virtually no input but time? I can't figure it out.

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I'd be interested in comparisons of the over-the-counter products (Nocino Della Cristina, Nocello by Toschi, Nocillo, Charbay Black) for those of us that missed the harvest for our own production this season.

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I'd be interested in comparisons of the over-the-counter products (Nocino Della Cristina, Nocello by Toschi, Nocillo, Charbay Black) for those of us that missed the harvest for our own production this season.

I can only comment on the Toschi Nocello. It's a different animal from nocino (or at least the nocino I make). For one thing, it's a much lighter color - more of a light gold than a motor-oil black. It's sweet and syrupy, with a pronounced walnut flavor. There are no cinnamon-clove-spice flavors at all. It's not nearly as complex and interesting as nocino. More along the lines of something to put on ice cream, IMHO. Or maybe drizzled over figs and Humboldt Fog.....

Mike

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My nocino's getting strained and bottled this coming weekend. It will be exciting to see how the batch made with brandy compares with the batch made with vodka.

Mike

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How long before I strain mine? It's been in the vodka for a little over a month (THANK JIM DIXON!!!!!!) black as tar too... yipee!!!!

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I got mine bottled - this year my novel straining idea worked quite nicely. I cut a large sized (x6) coffee filter to one thickness and lined the french press with it. Still pitch black after straining, but the filters caught a good deal of sediment. Good flavors coming out. Slightly bitter but it will mellow soon.

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Luckylies, you'll want to wait another 2 or 3 weeks. :smile:

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Great timing on this thread - I was curious about when to filter as well. Mine has only been going for about six weeks; doesn't actually taste that bad, but still very young and chewy, not necessarily vile! What would be the detriment of letting it sit on its mash until Thanksgiving? Anybody?

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Carolyn, I don't know about Thanksgiving, but last year I did leave the nuts and spices in the vin, supposedly for a couple more months. In the event I forgot all about the fact that I'd never strained it, and when I went to serve some about 8 months later, it had nasty bitter overtones and I had to dump that bottle. It really can get too tannic, but because I was sloppy, I don't know how long that takes.

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